While you may not be familiar with the name of the region, Emilia-Romagna, I have no doubt you are familiar with the sights, sounds and tastes that make it so remarkable. As my own tribute to my favorite part of Italy, here are 42 things I find irresistible about Emilia-Romagna.
1. Parma ham. Every day. Please.
2. Enjoying a perfectly crafted espresso
3. People watching in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore
4. Admire some amazing views at the Fortress of San Leo
5. Spending the afternoon at the Carpigiani Gelato Museum, with samples of course
6. Admiring the craftsmanship of some of the best cars in the world at the Lamborghini factory.
7. Walking around Bologna when it’s decorated during the Christmas season
8. Walk through history in the beautiful city of Ravenna
9. Sunbathe on the beach at Rimini
10. Walk along the world’s longest continuous portico to visit the hilltop Il Santuario di San Luca in Bologna
11. Spending time at any one of the many festivals around the region, throughout the year
12. Visit an adventure park for zip lines and other outdoors adventures.
13. Traditional ragu sauce served over tagliatelle, NOT spaghetti
14. Leave the region, briefly, to not-so-far-away Florence or Milan
15. No matter your religious beliefs, you’ll find the artistry of the Compianto sul Cristo Morto figurines moving
16. White water rafting, no really.
17. Getting to know some of the people who live in the region, their hospitality is famous
18. Admiring the exquisite Biblioteca Malatestiana in Cesena, one of the oldest libraries in Europe
19. Learning about the city’s past at s Palazzo Pepoli, the Museum of the History of Bologna
20. Enjoying a classic Bolognese dinner at Trattoria Anna Maria
21. Step back in time at the strange but fascinating anatomy theater in the ancient part of Bologna’s university
22. Marvel at the Roman ruins found throughout the region
23. Drive through the countryside for some remarkable and inspiring views
24. Learning the fine art of aged balsamic vinegar in Modena
25. Window shopping in the alleys and arcades of Bologna
26. Test drive a super sports car along the winding roads of the region
27. Finding the hidden canals of Bologna
28. Learn about the real luncheon meat, mortadella
29. Taking a cooking class using the region’s stunning ingredients
30. Trek through the countryside to get closer to nature
31. Visiting the old Archiginnasio of Bologna, one of the oldest universities in Europe
32. Vroom! Vroom! Visit the home of Ducati and tour the museum
33. Discovering your own favorite villages and hamlets.
34. Look for the meridian line, Cassini’s Sundial, in San Petronio Basilica
35. Explore your cultural side at MAMBO; or Modern Art Museum of Bologna
36. Learning the difference between real and fake gelato. It’s an important lesson.
37. Going to the source, nibbling on a block of real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
38. Eat again, you look hungry.
39. Admiring the towers of Bologna lit up at night
40. Visit the other car manufacturer, Ferrari and maybe even take one for a test drive.
41. Keeping this region a secret, it’s too awesome to share with the world
42. Journey to nearby San Marino, the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world.